Ciara McDonnell

Thesis title: Functional characterisation of genetic variants influencing human food preferences.


Precision Medicine DTP, University of Edinburgh: 2017 - present.

MSc Systems & Synthetic Biology, University of Edinburgh: 2016 - 2017.

BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science, Cardiff Metropolitan University: 2012 - 2015.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Intellectual Property Management and Technology (Innovation) Transfer PhD Intern at Edinburgh Innovations.

STEM Ambassador: Team member of an outreach programme geared towards schools that promotes cardiovascular health, informs students of research going on at the University and promotes STEM subjects in and around Edinburgh.

Undergraduate teaching

Facilitator & demonstrator for Biomedical Sciences 1.

Demonstrator for Biomedical Sciences 2.

Facilitator for Clinical Biochemistry & Endocrinology 3.

Research summary

I am interested in understanding the role that genetic variants have on food preferences. In particular, using big data to identify causal SNPs, followed by functional validation studies to understand the correct target genes and biological mechanisms that underpin these preferences. 

Conference details

Attendance at the European Mathematical Genetics Meeting 2020, virtual.

Attendance at the American Society of Human Genetics conference 2019, Houston, USA.

Won a reviewer’s choice award for abstract on the novel use of Mendelian Randomization to detect bias in food frequency questionnaire responses at the American Society of Human Genetics conference 2018, San Diego, USA.

Attendance at European Mathematical Genetics Meeting 2018, University of Calgari, Sardinia.

Attendance at Edinburgh Alliance for Complex Trait Genetics Meeting 2017, Royal Society of Edinburgh, UK.